Friday, September 5, 2008

Transcending Myths

The 2008 Paralympic Games start tomorrow.

While there's a lot of buzz about it in the city, it's shockingly mostly negative.

I've heard comments like, "they [the Paralympic athletes] must be in pain", or "they will hurt themselves more easily so I can't watch".

And that's why they don't want to watch the Games.

What's ironic is that Paralympic athletes are trying to show others they can compete in high-level international sport just as well or even better than able-bodied people.

That's the message I have to constantly tell my local friends and colleagues.

Tonight one of my friends with a naive view of disabled athletes went to get a foot massage with me. And as we had reflexology done on our feet, we watched a television show about a blind person.

He was blind from birth, and now works as a masseuse. He also had a knack for computers and even created a software program to help the blind massage clinic he works at to manage the business.

It was so successful that he tutors other people online in using his special program.

My friend was quite impressed.

We also saw some footage of sit-down volleyball, where amputees and others with other disabilities sat on the floor as they volleyed, bumped and spiked the ball over the net. What was even more amazing was watching a one-legged cyclist and a one-legged high jumper.

While China is dragging out its 83 million disabled people out of the woodwork, at least its media is now busy doing a number of stories on some interesting individuals.

Media reports say over 70 percent of tickets for the Paralympic Games have been sold. It'll be interesting to see how many people actually attend the events.

And then they can see for themselves these people who have overcome amazing obstacles just to show they're just like one of us, if not, even more.

1 comment:

ks said...

pity their naiivity and ignorance. the handicapped in china surely do not enjoy the concessions and convenience as we have here in the western world. again we need to give china more time to mature into a better socially just society.